Education

More than 80% of Oswego School District staff fully vaccinated for COVID 19 as of Oct. 2

Oswego School District 308 officials reported this week that 84% of the district’s “regular staff” had provided proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 to the district as of Oct. 2.

In addition, the district officials reported that 16% of the district’s regular staff that had not provided proof of vaccination and were subject to weekly testing for COVID-19 as of Oct. 2. During the week of Sept. 27 a total of 287 staff members were either tested for COVID-19 by the district or provided test results from an outside source, according to the district.

“The district offers testing to all staff at all locations throughout the district each week. However, staff may provide proof of testing to the district from an outside source. Additionally, someone may be exempt from testing if they are on an exclusion, vacation or sick time, or with a recent COVID-19 diagnosis,” John Petzke, the district’s chief financial officer said in an email.

The district released its staff vaccination data to the Oswego Ledger and KendallCountyNow.com Oct. 7 in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

In its FOIA request, the Ledger and KendallCountyNow.com had asked district officials to provide numbers and percentages of the district’s certified and non-certified staff that had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine as of Sept. 19 along with percentages of the district’s certified and non-certified staff participating in weekly COVID-19 testing. However, Petzke cited the district’s “limited ability to extract the data without manual counting by role” as the reason it could provide only percentages of vaccinated and non-vaccinated staff based on what they described in their response as “regular staff.”

District 308 is the largest employer in Kendall County with an estimated 2,330 employees, according to information posted on the district’s website. With an enrollment of more than 17,000 students, it is the seventh largest school district in Illinois.

Amid a summer spike in COVID-19 across the state and country due to the spread of the Delta variant, Gov. JB Pritzker mandated in August that all Illinois teachers and other school staff members receive at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 19

The deadline originally was set for Labor Day weekend, but Pritzker extended it to Sept. 19, giving school employees more time to get their first shot. Any employee who is not vaccinated is subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing, under the governor’s order.

District 308′s staff vaccination level is comparable to the vaccination levels reported in late September by other Kendall County area school districts.

Yorkville School Superintendent Tim Shimp reported that 84% of the district’s certified and non-certified staff had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Sept. 24.

In addition, Shimp said that 16% of the district’s certified and non-certified staff have chosen not to get a vaccine but are participating in weekly testing for COVID-19 at district schools.

Plano School District 88 Superintendent Tony Baker estimated that 80% of the district’s staff of 400 employees had been vaccinated as of Sept. 21.

Ed Boswell, superintendent of Newark Community High School District 18, estimated that “close to 80%” of the district’s staff was vaccinated as of Sept. 22.